President Reagan renewed partisan warfare over the deadlocked federal budget yesterday, declaring in his weekly radio speech that the House bill makes false claims of deficit reductions and would be "a severe blow to our national security."
"At best it could win a prize for creative bookkeeping," Reagan said in an address from Camp David, where he is spending a relaxed holiday weekend and celebrating the 64th birthday of First Lady Nancy Reagan.
"Huge so-called savings are simply assumed or invented," Reagan said. "Funds are juggled back and forth between accounts to show phony deficit reductions and billions of dollars of expenses are just wished away."
Reagan's sharply worded speech signaled an end to an undeclared truce between the White House and Congress during the recent hostage crisis in Lebanon, and was an effort to pressure House-Senate budget conferees to resume negotiations when they return Monday after a weeklong recess.
White House strategists consider the Democrats especially vulnerable on defense because of a rise of concern about military strength during the hostage crisis.
This has been reflected, these strategists say, in recent House votes on nerve gas, the Midgetman missile and the president's Strategic Defense Initiative.
Reagan has backed a more austere Senate version of the budget that allows inflationary growth in defense spending. The House version allows no increase for inflation.
In a June 5 speech before the budget negotiations collapsed, Office of Management and Budget Director David A. Stockman said the House budget would cut only $10 billion in real domestic spending, and he accused the Democrat-controlled House of "egregious, shameless" distortion in claiming $56 million of budget cuts.
Yesterday Reagan cited as an example of House "gimmicks" a provision that would apply the next four years of offshore oil leasing fees to the current year's deficit. But his harshest words were devoted to the House limits on defense spending, which he described as "raiding the national defense."
"There is nothing proportionate or fair in the House's assault on defense," he said. "They propose making over half of their reductions in this one area, which accounts for less than a third of total spending.
"What the House Budget Committee calls a defense spending freeze is really a drastic cut requiring reduction from current plans in research and development, construction and procurement of 19 percent in 1986, 23 percent in 1987 and 28 percent in 1988."
Reagan's speech presaged a likely bitter summer struggle over the conflicting budget versions. The administration's strategy is to stress the budget in coming weeks, hoping to end the impasse.
Administration officials are concerned that if the congressional budget battle lingers into the fall it will imperil the bipartisan cooperation considered needed to pass Reagan's tax overhaul bill.
The tax bill has been put on the administration back burner until the fall. Reagan did not mention it today, but he did repeat his familiar pledge to veto any tax increase measure and said he had the votes in the House to sustain a veto.
Rep. Mary Rose Oakar (D-Ohio), responding for the Democrats, did not mention the budget, but said Reagan's tax plan "is not fair to the middle class" and would add to the federal deficit. She particularly criticized Reagan's plan to end the deduction for state and local taxes and the "marriage penalty" deduction for two-earner families.
"These changes that the president wants would put the squeeze on the middle-class taxpayer and family," Oakar said. "He wants to eliminate those tax provisions that lower your taxes."
Reagan also did not mention Social Security, an intermittently troublesome issue for him throughout his political career. The Senate version of the budget which he favors would freeze cost-of-living increases for Social Security and other pension and benefit programs, while the House would allow Social Security to keep pace with inflation.